Navigating Stress in Relationships: Tips for Men

When you are outside looking in, relationships often look like a fairytale. There are inside jokes, someone to go places with, someone you can laugh with– it’s intoxicating. Loving and having someone to love is a good thing.

But relationships are more than just kisses and hugs.

If there is one thing I could tell men who just got into a relationship, it is that you will get stressed.

Your partner will stress you.

Arguments will stress you.

Your feelings will stress you.

The fear that you are doing something wrong will stress you.

But listen, it’s normal. Every man gets stressed from being in a relationship. Stress in relationships is the dark side of the moon.

Stress in relationships is not a flaw. In fact, healthy relationships go through a period of stress sometimes. It is an opportunity to find a reason beyond looks and great cooking to be in a relationship.

When you are stressed, you have the opportunity to fight for your relationship, really fight for it. You get to learn how to deal with stress in a relationship.

But the first step is recognizing when your relationship is stressing you out. Don’t ignore the signs; acknowledge them and strive to do better.

Warning Signs of Stress in a Relationship

I have seen many men claim that they are not stressed even though they are. Often, they project a strong and confident exterior, almost like Winston Churchill during World War II. But with time, the walls come down, and the ‘black dog’ comes to light.

You can be stressed because of your relationship and not know it. It happens when you become accustomed to a specific way of living. You become less aware of your actions, tone of voice, and words. You probably think this is how it has always been and should be.

No, that’s not how you started out. So, how can you really tell that it’s relationship stress? Consider the following warning signs of stress in a relationship.

You Are Arguing More.

I remember when I could go home 100% sure that there would be no arguments with my partner. I similarly remember a time when I knew we would argue all night.

I can’t tell you when it started or what those arguments were about. That’s what happens. You fight all the time over small things you forget the next day. But you never forget how intense and heart-wrenching those fights were.

There Is An Emotional Distance.

You can tell something is wrong when you are in the same house but feel miles apart. Emotional distance is challenging to explain. But you can feel it in your heart.

After an argument with his wife, a friend of mine would always wish to get injured enough to end up at the hospital for a few days. This way, his wife would show some emotional reaction, even if it meant tears. That’s emotional distance.

You Don’t Feel Supported and Can’t Give It

Relationships are all about supporting each other. When you started dating, this was something that came easy. You wanted to support your partner, whether running for mayor or starting a skydiving business.

But this is one of the things that fade away slowly. It becomes more challenging to offer support, so you fake it.

That is, until you can’t pretend any longer. But when you feel guilty about it, you remember that your partner is doing the same, unable to offer support.

I’ve met couples who have separate lives despite being in loving relationships, with no shared activities and no common interests. Just living together but apart – I think that’s what happens in the long run when you don’t support each other.

You Become More Critical Or Defensive

When the relationship undergoes stress, people tend to be more critical or defensive towards their partners. I’ve seen this happen with couples gradually, and they don’t even seem to recognize it. The criticism starts randomly and sometimes even comes off as playful.

‘You shouldn’t say that’ and ‘That’s a strange idea.’ They seem innocent, almost like your partner is trying to help you. Then, it becomes more specific, targeting sensitive topics such as career or family.

Another thing that happens is defensiveness. You find yourself making excuses for your behavior, often blaming your partner.

‘You didn’t wait for me so that we could watch the movie together.’

‘Well, you came home later than you said you would.’

And thousands more conversations like this can pass before you realize what’s happening.

Men, Here’s How to Deal With Stress in a Relationship

Stress in relationships can take a toll on even the strongest of bonds. To this day, some people broke up and still have no idea where it all went wrong. Often, it is relationship stress. Men are often accused of being out of touch with their emotions. A myth with some truth because men are not exactly the chatty type when it comes to their feelings. But those stereotypes need to be broken if you want to save your relationship.

You need to be ready to confront your feelings.

You have to be ready to admit it’s not working.

You need to be ready to be uncomfortable.

You need to be willing to put in the time.

You need to be ready to put in the effort.

Because dealing with stress in a relationship is not a one-time thing. You must adopt good habits, collaborate with your partner consistently, and ensure you are on the right path.

So, fellas, here’s how you can start and progress.


I had a partner who would stop me during an argument to ask if I was hungry. That would usually do two things. First, it would throw me off, and second, it made me realize I was hungry.

After eating, I would be in a better mood, and our conversations would run more smoothly. Of course, this did not always work, and we broke up anyway. But when it did, I realized that sometimes you need to H.A.L.T.

H- Being Hungry is bad for your mood, so grab something to eat before you talk to your loved one.

A- If you are Angry about something, take a step back to process your emotions. Allow yourself to calm down and find ways to deal with it healthily.

L- You could be next to your loved one and still feel Lonely.

T- You could be Tired, not just physically but mentally. Take a nap, and do a quick meditation till you feel relaxed.

Use I, Not You, Except When Using We

Everyone always wonders how couples shout at each other in public until it’s their turn. That’s what stress in relationships can do to you. So, when communicating with your partner, it is best to do it carefully.

One of the things I’ve seen that can land a man in trouble is using ‘you’ instead of ‘I.’ ‘You’ is accusing, like you are trying to place the blame on your partner. ‘I’ is different.

It takes ownership, it acknowledges feelings, and it tells your partner that you are not assuming since you are talking about yourself.

‘Everytime we make plans, you cancel them,’ sounds accusatory and nothing else.

On the other hand, ‘I get disappointed when we make plans and you don’t show up,’ delves into how you feel, not just that the plans fell through.

The only time you shouldn’t use ‘I’ is when using ‘we.’

Using plurals to talk about the relationship is an excellent way to show your partner that you see yourself as a unit rather than opposing individuals. Unity can really improve the conversation.

Listen Instead of Planning a Response

Wouldn’t it be nice if talking could solve everything every time? Just because you spoke and our partner responded does not mean your relationship stress is over.

Nope, for that to happen, you have to adopt long-term behaviors that help the relationship. Perhaps the best thing to start with is listening to your partner instead of planning a response.

It feels good to win the argument, but that’s how you lose a partner. So why don’t you try listening and see what happens?

Even if you disagree or feel the need to defend yourself, taking the time to hear what they are saying will validate their point of view. When you listen to your partner, they will be more willing to listen to you.

In addition, you can find the root of their stress and maybe even discover yours. So fight the urge to think of a rebuttal when your partner says something you disagree with.

Handling Stress in Relationships with Smart Moves

That phase of emotional turmoil does not last. Some couples get through it, and others break up; either way, it’s just a phase.

So, as a man trying to save his relationship and push through this stressful time, consider employing the above practices. Adopt them permanently.

Navigating stress in relationships is an inevitable aspect of the complex journey of love and partnership.

You need to be self-aware, improve your communication skills, and be genuinely committed to your partner’s well-being as much as you care about yourself.

That’s how you end up in a fairytale.

About Author

Waithira Njagi is a seasoned wellness and relationship content writer with nearly a decade of experience. Her passion for helping others navigate the complexities of personal growth and connection shines through in her engaging and insightful writing.
With a knack for distilling complex topics into easily digestible pieces, Waithira's work is geared toward readers seeking guidance and inspiration on their journey to holistic well-being.
When she's not crafting engaging articles, you can find Waithira curled up with a stack of romance novels– always rooting for love to win– or enjoying quality time with her beloved family. Her dedication to spreading love and positivity is evident in everything she creates.

Waithira is here to remind you that life, much like their stories, is a tapestry of connections - to loved ones, and the endless adventures found in books.

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